Having a livestock guardian dog, or even multiple dogs, on your small farm, homestead or hobby farm can be a big decision. There are many things to consider: what will your LGD do? What breed suits your needs? How will you train your dog?
Learn a bit more about LGDs: what they do, how to train them, what breeds are most common, and whether they are the right choice for your small farm.
- Livestock Guardian Dogs on the Small Farm
- Choosing a Livestock Guardian Dog Breed
- How to Train a Livestock Guardian Dog
You don't have to have dozens of acres of farmland or wilderness to begin homesteading. Homesteading is a frame of mind, a way of life: a commitment to self-sufficiency.
There are steps you can take right now to homestead where you live, even if it's a tiny apartment in New York City.
If you haven't ordered honey bees for the spring yet, what are you waiting for? It's definitely time to place orders for equipment, too. Order now, before the apiaries get swamped, and before they sell out! Demand is soaring for starter sets of package bees that the beginning beekeeper can install into a hive, because so many people are wading into beekeeping these days. It's a rapidly growing hobby.
So, read up on how to keep bees, the supplies you'll need, and where to buy them, and happy beekeeping!
- How to Keep Bees
- Buy Package Bees Online
- Beekeeping for Beginners
- Buy Beekeeping Supplies Online
- 5 Must-Have Beekeeping Supplies
Rabbits are an easy, prolific animal to raise on the small farm, homestead or hobby farm. Typically raised for meat, they can also be raised for wool (Angora) or pelts (Rex).
There are some basics you'll need to master before you bring home your first breeding trio: what to feed them, how to care for them, how to house them, and how to process them humanely and efficiently. Winter is a great time to read up on new species you may add come spring!
Soon, the days will be above freezing and the nights below, and it will be time to tap the maple trees and gather their prolific sap, boiling it down into delicious maple syrup. Whether you're using lines or buckets, it is a good time to gather the supplies you'll need for sugaring. If you don't have your own trees, consider asking a neighbor if they mind if you tap their trees. In exchange for some homemade maple syrup, they might be very obliging.
Deep in the heart of winter is a wonderful time to snuggle up by the fire with a sketchbook or paper and pencil and start thinking, planning and dreaming about the next season on the small farm. Keep those ideas flowing, and start with brainstorming without worrying about reality. Then, narrow down your ideas to what's really feasible for the coming season, prioritizing other goals for future seasons.
If you're new to small farming, homesteading or hobby farming, you may be considering getting animals for the first time, or adding animals to your existing small farm operation. But which animals are a good choice for beginners? How about an easy-to-raise species to add, so that you don't overtax yourself?
Check out the profiles (and more in-depth info if you want it) on these five species of animals, all of which rank among the easiest to raise for the small beginning farmer.
Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes as they are also known, are a versatile, easy-to-grow vegetable for the small farmer. Just be careful where you put them, as they may take over your garden with their prolific nature.
Jerusalem artichokes have beautiful, sunflower-like flowers that smell like chocolate. The edible part is the tuber, the root that grows underground: a root that tastes something like a cross between a potato, an artichoke and a water chestnut.
If you think you might want to add another edible vegetable to your small farm this year, consider the Jerusalem artichoke.
Better late than never, right? If you haven't made any specific New Year's Resolutions for your small farm, or aren't the resolutions type, you might consider making goals for the upcoming season. The top ten resolutions I share here are not specific goals, but attitudes and practices that will enhance your small farming experience no matter where in the process you may be - beginner, intermediate, expert - or where on the small farm continuum you are - homesteader, hobby farmer, or larger, yet still small-scale, farmer.
Pairing resolutions with goals can be particularly powerful, so check out both articles and see what goals and resolutions you'll carry forth into 2014.
Winter is the perfect time to consider adding new species of animals to your small farm, homestead or hobby farm. And pigs are a fantastic animal for small farms. They can gobble up food scraps and extra milk (for example, if you have goats, prolific milk-producers), they can act as roto-tillers to churn up dirt in a space slated for vegetable growth, and they can clear brush and pasture in a jiffy.
That said, there are some considerations to think about before you start raising pigs, and you should have their housing, fencing and feeding prepared before you come home with cute, tiny piglets. And of course, most pigs are raised for meat, so you'll want to know what you're in for before you decide to slaughter on-farm or transport them to a slaughterhouse.
- How to Raise Pigs on the Small Farm
- Should You Raise Pigs?
- How to Choose Pig Breeds
- How to Raise Piglets
- Feeding and Watering Pigs
- Housing and Fencing Pigs
- Preventing Pig Problems and Diseases
- Processing Pigs on the Small Farm